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Personal Injury Claims And Independent Medical Examinations

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Automobile accidents can cause many different types of damage and harm. Victims often feel like almost every aspect of their lives are negatively affected, and it's easy to see why. Accidents can affect your health, your budget, your transportation, and more. One of the most difficult areas of damage for victims can come in the form of medical expenses. Read on to learn more about what could happen if your medical bills come under scrutiny.

Why Have an Independent Medical Examination (IME)? 

Medical expenses are a common form of damage for accidents. The more serious your injury, the higher the medical bills will be. Even minor wrecks with relatively minor injuries can cause thousands of dollars in medical bills. Keeping a check on those expenses helps the insurance carrier keep payouts low and their profits high. A request to undergo an IME usually means that one or more medical issues are being questioned. An IME helps the insurance carrier verify things like:

  • What type of injuries do you have?
  • How serious is the injury?
  • Was the injury caused by the accident or was there a pre-existing condition?

Should You Agree and Submit to an IME?

If you receive a request to undergo an IME, speak with a personal injury attorney right away. This type of exam is not always as "independent" as the name might lead you to believe. Often, the IME doctor and the defendant's insurance carrier work together, and the results of the exam are often biased against the victim. With that in mind, you may refuse the IME. However, you should know that in some cases, the defendant can ask the court to order an IME and you must abide by the order. Cases must have reached the lawsuit discovery period for a judge to make such a ruling.

What Happens at an IME?

If your attorney advises you to proceed or you are under an order, it's best to know what to expect during an IME. This exam involves the doctor paying close attention to the affected areas and questioning you about the injuries. You should be prepared to explain how the injuries occurred, the treatment you've had so far, and your level of pain and discomfort at present.

Medical expenses are an important area of compensation. Needless to say, you want to be covered for all bills past, present and future. Speak to your personal injury attorney to learn more about what to expect during an IME, how to handle it, and what the results might mean.